Colonie denies cell tower application

The Rev. Paul Hart, an Episcopal priest, admonished Woroby for putting the community through the matter and said there is more than one kind of "environmental" harm.

In planning board discussions, O'Rourke said denying the cell tower application would likely end in litigation, but he said, "The project does not integrate into the special character with the area."

He cited town law stating if the "welfare, comfort and convenience" of residents are jeopardized, a project can be denied.

O'Rourke said in a Thursday, May 27, interview, some resident said they would want to move if the tower was built, and that would adversely affect the tax base and the welfare of residents.

He also said the tower did not fit with the historic overlay district it borders.

Planning Board members and Verizon officials debated how far the tower was from the town's historic overlay district, a debate additionally muddled by the fact there is a national historic registry to be considered as well.

Director of Planning and Economic Development Joe LaCivita said the town's map only shows specific houses on the national registry, and the church is not one of them. It borders the town's overlay district, he said, but it is unclear exactly the distance between the two.

At several points O'Rouke made clear the health risk of radio frequencies did not factor into his decision, in fact, he asked public comment to focus on other issues not related to radio-frequency energy, since federal law states the board could not factor health into its decision.

Cusack asked the board to judge the cite plan on its merits, not on if a cell tower belongs at the church.

"It's not a function of a site plan review to judge the appropriateness of the structure," Cusack said.

He indicated the planning board's scope should be determining where the tower best belongs on the property and contends a bell tower is already a permitted use.

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